The prognosis of patients with systemic lymphoma with central nervous system (CNS) involvement is very poor and there is no established standard therapy. We retrospectively analyzed 18 patients (4 untreated and 14 relapsed) with systemic lymphoma with CNS involvement who received methotrexate and cytarabine-based multiagent chemotherapy (modified Bonn protocol). Complete and partial responses were achieved in 56 and 22% of the patients, respectively. The 1-year overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) was 81.0 and 39.2%, respectively. Patients with parenchymal involvement showed a better 1-year PFS than those with either leptomeningeal involvement or both. In a multivariate analysis, poor performance status (PS) was the only independent prognostic factor for the 1-year OS and PFS (HR 10.8, 95% CI 1.09-108, p = 0.042; HR 20.8, 95% CI 2.39-181, p = 0.006, respectively). Grade 4 neutropenia and thrombocytopenia occurred in 17 patients each (94%), but there were no grade 4 nonhematopoietic adverse events. The modified Bonn protocol resulted in relatively favorable response and survival, and provided clinical benefits to patients with good PS, in particular. This study demonstrated that the modified Bonn protocol could be a feasible and encouraging treatment approach for lymphoma with CNS and systemic involvement.

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